Last October, R3 Marketing and Leger has unveiled the results of the 4e edition of LoyalT1 : the most comprehensive annual study on loyalty program trends and performance across Canada.
Gas programs are popular
The ranking of these 10 programs is not surprising because they are offered by businesses with a high demand rate. Irving Awards (Quebec and Ontario only) comes at the top of the list, bumping Starbucks, the 2017 and 2018 top winner. Still, Starbucks remains in the top winners, as well as SAQ Inspire2, metro&moi and PC Optimum.
LoyalT score is calculated from 3 key indicators : recommendation (6%), level of engagement (37%) and purchasing behaviour (57%).
For many reasons, the gas company’s programs were less impacted by the pandemic. Firstly, from an operational standpoint, these companies did not have to manage customers waiting in line or deal with stock shortages. Secondly, as frequency-type businesses, these companies were able to count on members to keep buying from them and using their loyalty program.
The eclipse of the Sephora and Cineplex programs was noted as they were second and fourth in 2018, respectively. With the strict health rules in place and the closure of cinemas and shopping centres, the pandemic has had a definite impact on both programs.
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In the top 10 Canadian programs, three are from Quebec: Milliplein, metro&moi and SAQ Inspire. While the success of the first is based on its sector of activity, the performance of the other two programs is linked to their leading edge in offers and content personalization.
It Pays to Use Best Practices
Some gas industry programs are new (Ultramar’s Journie Rewards) or have undergone a redesign (EKO’s Milliplein and Irving Awards). Having recently launched new loyalty programs, Ultramar and Tim Hortons are also making their debut in the top programs.
In terms of program redesign, we see that the approach is less popular in this country, while very popular in the United States. Many programs such as Sephora and Starbucks have redesigned their program more than once in the last three years.
Comparison of Program Types
As was the case last year, private coalition programs (PC Optimum and Canadian Tire’s Triangle) perform better than other types of programs. But private programs are not trailing that far behind.
Coalition programs such as CAA, Air Miles, and Aeroplan3 are at the bottom of the list for a third consecutive year. Limited access to data (owned and managed by the promoter), lack of generosity and lack of customization explain their lower score.
Beyond the top 10
The LoyauT team also broke down the rankings into more specific categories regarding communications, rewards redemption and overall satisfaction.
SAQ Inspire has made the top ranking five times due to the targeted content program offers. SAQ sets the bar very high in regard to communications with 1.7 million personalized weekly emails. Despite this, the program ranks among the less generous (wait time too long before redeeming a reward), which is not that surprising. Although the generosity of a program is important, the SAQ strategy is based on the relevance of their communications and the improvement of the customer experience (via its mobile app).
As far as PC Optimum goes, the private coalition program distinguished itself this year through its speedy reaction, its empathic approach, as well as its custom content and offers during the pandemic.
Visit our LoyalT page to learn more about the study and discover more results!
1 Web survey conducted by Léger from September 10 to 28, 2020 with 5,000 Canadian respondents, including 2,000 Quebecers aged 18 and over, selected from the LÉO panel.
2 The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) is a government corporation whose mandate is to sell alcoholic beverages.
3 Retail partners only. Travel excluded.